New Delhi: At a time when the global community at large has repeatedly shown concern about nuclear missiles in Pakistan falling into the hands of terrorists, the United States has asked Pakistan to prove that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear missiles, even as the country sees India in a leadership role.
Donald Trump administration announced its first public policy on Monday and through it, asked Pakistan to assure that its nuclear arsenal is completely safe. "The United States will also encourage Pakistan to continue demonstrating that it is a responsible steward of its nuclear assets,” reads the policy released by the White House. "The prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange remains a key concern requiring consistent diplomatic attention."
The concern is hardly ill-founded as home-grown terror in Pakistan has repeatedly resulted in concern over the possibility of nuclear assets being attacked and taken over by rogue elements.
Several security experts have also warned against the security surrounding key nuclear installations in Pakistan. Rahmatullah Nabil, head of Afghanistan’s national directorate of security from 2010 to 2012 and from 2013 to 2015, warned earlier this year that Pakistan's nuclear assets are hardly safe. "Having served in senior roles in Afghanistan’s intelligence services, I have good reason to be sceptical about Pakistan’s ability to keep its nuclear weapons safe from extremists," he wrote for New York Times in August.
And the same scepticism may be within the political and diplomatic lanes of Washington as well. In its foreign policy, Trump administration further said that home-grown terrorism in Pakistan remains a grave concern for the United States. “We will insist that Pakistan take decisive action against militant and terrorist groups operating from its soil. We will press Pakistan to intensify its counter-terrorism efforts, who target a partner’s own service members and officials," it read.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have been slightly frosty in recent months with the former expressing a certain degree of displeasure with how much Pakistan has done to combat terrorism - especially home-grown terrorist groups like Haqqanis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has gone from admonishing to advising and back again in a bid to get Pakistan to increase its role. He even said he has warned officials in Islamabad that Pakistani cities may be run over by terrorists in the future if action is not taken in the present.
Pakistan, however, appears turning away from United States' advisories as it looks to foster better relations with China and get closer with Russia. Foreign Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif even said that it would be better for his country to not depend on the United States and forge new ties.